Yuval Diskin, Israeli ex-intel chief, slams Netanyahu's Iran stance


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' comments on February 26, 2012, in which Abbas claimed that Israel was trying to wipe out the Arabic identity of Jerusalem.



The former head of Israel's security agency said on Friday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu exaggerated the effectiveness of a military strike against Iran, according to the Associated Press.

Yuval Diskin, the former head of Shin Bet, said that Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak had their judgment clouded by "messianic feelings" and should not be trusted on their Iran policy, reported the AP. Diskin warned that a strike against Iran might actually accelerate the country's nuclear program.

Israeli newspaper Haaretz said Diskin's comments came as he addressed the Majdi Forum, a group of locals meeting to discuss politics. He said, "My major problem is that I have no faith in the current leadership, which must lead us in an event on the scale of war with Iran or a regional war."

Diskin added, "I don't believe in either the prime minister or the defense minister. I don't believe in a leadership that makes decisions based on messianic feelings," according to Haaretz.

Diskin's remarks echoed the sentiments of ex-Mossad head Meir Dagan, said The New York Times. Last summer, Dagan called the idea of a military strike against Iran's nuclear facilities "stupid."

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Israel's army chief, Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz, said earlier this week that he did not believe Iran would develop nuclear weapons after all the economic and diplomatic pressure placed on it. Gantz told Haaretz, "If the supreme religious leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei wants, he will advance it to the acquisition of a nuclear bomb, but the decision must first be taken... I think the Iranian leadership is composed of very rational people."

Barak responded to Gantz' comments on Thursday, stating that Iran's leadership was "not rational in the Western sense of the word," according to Haaretz.

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On April 25, Netanyahu told CNN that sanctions "are certainly taking a bite out of the Iranian economy," but that "they haven't rolled back the Iranian program – or even stopped it – by one iota."

Likud party member and Israeli vice-premier Silvan Shalom responded to Diskin's public remarks saying, "I think that Diskin was wrong to say what he did, and that when he considers what he said he will realize that he was wrong," according to CNN.

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